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Dear Lane Pryce, Some Retroactive Advice

June 6, 2012 | by

Dear Lane Pryce,

I feel like Eminem when he wrote to that dude Stan, recommending psychiatric treatment before realizing that Stan had already driven his car off a bridge, pregnant girlfriend tied up in the trunk. Or like the guy in that Phil Collins song “In the Air Tonight” who could have saved that other guy from drowning, but didn’t. Or like Count Vronsky in Anna Karenina, who was so busy partying with socialites, he didn’t realize his girlfriend was depressed and fucked up on morphine until it was too late.

[Spoiler alert! -Ed.]

Point is, I’m sorry I didn’t get this letter to you sooner, before you hung limp from your office door, a rotting blue-faced blueblood.

I’d been meaning to write, but life got in the way. First, it was Memorial Day. I spent it stuck in a country house with nine members of my extended family who fought for sonic dominance by increasing the volume of their voices until the collective sound could only be described as a thrash metal Babel of metro-Boston subdialects. I’ll admit that at points throughout the weekend, I considered, like yourself, finally and eternally letting the rough caress of rope on throat make the noise go away.

But I pushed on, mostly thanks to recent improvements in earplug technology and a secret stash of bourbon. Eventually the weekend was over and I was back in New York, too caught up in the surprising resurgence of my beloved Boston Celtics to pay much notice to your increasing financial problems. Plus, there was Joan to worry about, as well as the House, M.D. series finale (a huge disappointment), a Game of Thrones costume party (I was Khal Drogo sans steroids and chin braid), bills to pay, parties to attend, and more bourbon to drink. By the time I managed to catch up on Mad Men, you’d already done the deed. Could I have stopped you? Saved you? These questions will haunt me.

If I’d gotten to you earlier I would have told you this:

1) Dude, I get it, 7,500 bucks was a lot of money back then—more than fifty thousand of today’s inflated dollars—but still, I know people who owe more than that in college loans.

2) Remember that time you punched Pete Campbell in the face and it was awesome? Try that again. It might make you feel better.

3) Your wife did seem super nice when she bought you that car (albeit with your own, nonexistent money), but what about last season, when you were basically ready to cede the relationship because you were boning that African American Playboy bunny until your abusive father showed up and whacked you with a cane? Well, whatever happened to that Playboy Bunny?

4) If you’d lived on into the future, you’d eventually have been able buy these controversial “Asian Fit” Oakley sunglasses. They might have make you look like a retro-futuristic fashion failure, but at least they wouldn’t slip off your nose like your current glasses always do (or did).

5) Five words: Joan Holloway on the rebound.

In conclusion, Lane, I’m sorry that you killed yourself, and I’m sorry that I couldn’t save you. You seemed like an okay guy, at least compared to Bernie Madoff. You’ll live on in our hearts and in syndication.

Sincerely yours,

Adam

11 COMMENTS

10 Comments

  1. Dom | June 6, 2012 at 4:29 pm

    Sorry, does anybody actually like these?

  2. Janna | June 6, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    When will the Paris Review stop publishing this chauvinisitic (and not funny) column?

  3. Lucas | June 6, 2012 at 5:40 pm

    With all due respect Janna, why are you still reading it?

  4. Nicole | June 6, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    I don’t find it so bad. The show itself is chauvinistic if anything and the column is a more whimsical and readable take than the endless pseudo-intellectual “recaps” that pop up all over the place.

  5. Lane | June 7, 2012 at 4:12 am

    Re: point #1, didn’t I owe $50K? Not $7,500?

  6. Max | June 7, 2012 at 11:04 am

    Humorous enough, but it’s telling that the setting for Mad Men was a culture in which people were fundamentally uncomfortable taking on tens of thousand of dollars of debt, and felt burdened to pay it back quickly.

    Would that we had that culture today, we’d be in a different financial situation entirely.

  7. Peggy | June 7, 2012 at 11:44 am

    Thumbs up to Dom and Janna. Was expecting better from TPR

  8. nathan | June 7, 2012 at 12:54 pm

    indeed! i would expect a more politically correct orthodox from the paris review! political correctness is the wellspring of all great writing1

  9. Adam | June 7, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    Agree with Peggy, Dom, and Janna. As a reader of the TPR, I expect much more quality columns than this.

  10. jayne | June 7, 2012 at 7:57 pm

    You must have been tilting the bourbon while either watching the episode or writing this piece or both. Yes the original embezzlement was $50,000.

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